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Pembrey & Burry Port

Great Welsh Marathon and Half Marathon returns this weekend at Pembrey Country Park

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The marathon season has begun and athletes from across the UK are getting ready to take on the longest-running marathon event in South Wales.

The Great Welsh Marathon and Half Marathon will be taking place this Sunday (10th April) from top Carmarthenshire visitor attraction Pembrey Country Park, starting at 9am and 9.30am respectively.

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Race organisers say participants will experience a fantastic event that offers the very best of coast and country, with miles of beach and woodlands to enjoy as they #RunCymru.

The race is expected to host a relatively small field of runners of up to 1,500 participants, making it one of friendliest races around!  

The race is organised by Front Runner Events and delivered with the help of crew members and volunteer race makers.

David Martin-Jewell, Managing Director said: “We are thrilled to be staging the 2022 edition of the Great Welsh Marathon & Half Marathon.

“This will be first time we have been able to hold this event since 2019, 1092 days since it was last staged.

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“Operationally, it has been a very difficult couple of years and although we were able to deliver a virtual event for the last two years, we very much look forward to bringing back this brilliant event for our running community!” 

Key Race Day Timings

  • 07:30: Car Park, Race Village, Baggage Tent and Information Point Open
  • 08:30: Runners MUST be parked & heading to start area
  • 08:50: Road closure commences & bag drop closes
  • 09:00: Great Welsh Marathon Race Starts
  • 09:30: Great Welsh Half Marathon Race Starts
  • 10:42: Winner of the Great Welsh Half Marathon Expected
  • 11:15: Half Marathon winners presentation takes place
  • 11:28: Winner of the Great Welsh Marathon Expected
  • 12:00: Full Marathon winners presentation takes place
  • 15:00: Last finisher expected
  • 15:30: Event Closes

Tash Smith, Event Manager and Race Director added: “We are incredibly grateful to all our race makers who volunteer their time to help deliver an amazing experience for our runners. I look forward to seeing all our runners and volunteers on race day for what will be an incredible day from start to finish!” 

Anyone who would like to volunteer at any of the Front Runner Events can register their interest by emailing: volunteers@frontrunnerevents.co.uk where the team will let you know what roles are available.

Organisers have also produced a Race Day Guide that features all your need-to-know information about the event, including safety notes, car parking and race day information.

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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Pembrey & Burry Port

Pembrey’s Great Welsh Marathon returned with record-breaking runs

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Sunday (10 April) was the first event of the year for the team at Wales’ largest independent mass participant running organisation and what an event it was!

With near perfect running conditions on the day, it was hailed a great success, with both male records smashed in the marathon and half marathon events by Cardiff Triathlete, Oliver Webb and Swansea Harrier, Dewi Griffiths. 

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Today was the first time the event has been held since 2019, and after a 1092-day absence. Organisers were delighted to be able to stage it today at the incredible Pembrey Country Park.

Tash Smith, Race Director said: “It felt great to be back doing what we do best! It’s been a long time for us waiting in anticipation for this event and despite this being one of our smaller races it is definitely one of my favourites!

“Our volunteers pulled together fantastically after such a long time away from delivering this event and I’m proud to say they were brilliant.

“I can’t wait to see what the rest of year brings for our team, and I look forward to staging this again in 2023.” 

In addition to the course records being broken there were hundreds of PB’s reported at this fast and friendly race.

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Runners enjoyed a fantastic route that offered the very best of coast and country, with miles of beach and woodlands that seemed to set them on their way to hitting their best times. 

The provisional results from the event were:

Marathon:

MaleFemale
Oliver Webb (Cardiff Triathlon)
2:39:09
Emma Wookey (Lliwswerry Runners)
3:10:26
David Craig (Les Croupiers)
2:43:52
Celia Boothman
3:12:33
Michael Bryant (Swansea Harriers)
2:43:52
Poppy Tanner (Hardley Runners)
3:12:47

Half Marathon

MaleFemale
Dewi Griffiths (Swansea Harriers)
1:08:11
Kelly Bowen (Crofty Ambrey RC)
1:29:21
Dean Summers
1:17:31
Lou Summers (Torfaen Runners)
1:31:47
Jordan Figoni
1:17:53
Claire Phillips (Port Talbot Harriers)
1:32:12

The event also attracted several international runners in both distance races from the USA, France, Zimbabwe, Sweden, Ireland and Finland.

One lady runner from Finland explained that this event was part of her personal ambition to complete the alphabet of running events and she was pleased to finally add Wales to her bucket list! 

David Martin-Jewell, managing director at Front Runner Events added: “Today was a brilliant event to kick off our season for 2022. It feels fantastic to be delivering races once again for our running community.

“Events like ours have been sorely missed by athletes and fun runners a like. It’s a time where everyone can come together to achieve something very special, and I feel honoured to be part of it.

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“I am excited to be adding to our calendar of events this season and I look forward to delivering our next event at Swansea in June.”  

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Business

Pembrey’s Ashburnham Hotel set for refurbishment after ownership change

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A 200-year-old hotel in Pembrey near Llanelli is set to get a new lease of life after its new owners secured £420,000 of investment.

Nickesha Graham-Burrell and Balfour Burrell obtained the funding package from Natwest to purchase The Ashburnham Hotel following the retirement of its previous owners.

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The Burrells plan to strengthen the impressive reputation and operation of the £650,000 annual turnover business including considerable investment in landscaping and internal refurbishments at the seven-acre site, and a future vision to add guest lodges to the grounds.

The couple also plans to improve sustainability by installing electric vehicle charging points on-site.

Balfour, a former construction project manager, will take over as general manager. All current staff will be retained as part of the changing of hands, while the new owners hope to create more jobs in the local area as the business expands.

Built as an independent inn in the early 1800s to provide accommodation for businesspeople in the area, the hotel inherits its name from the Earl of Ashburnham, who lived at Pembrey house until the 1920s. Most notably, the property accommodated aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart for an overnight stay following her transatlantic flight in 1928, where she became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

The deal completed in March 2022 and secured the freehold of the hotel alongside all existing furniture and fittings. Jo McCarthy, commercial finance broker at B2B Finance, Andrew Styles, business development manager and Paul Dunne, relationship manager, both at NatWest, supported the transaction.

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Nickesha said: “Ashburnham Hotel is an extremely important business in the local area and sits in idyllic surroundings close to Pembrey Country Park and Ashburnham golf course. It is rich in history and still plays a huge part in the local community offering everything from weddings to business meetings and dining opportunities.

“The hotel has seen many changes over the years and will undergo internal and external refurbishment to create a sophisticated and luxurious feel. We’re excited about the future of the business and are committed to ensuring it remains authentic as the operation expands.”

Paul Dunne, Relationship Manager at NatWest for Carmarthenshire, said: “Working with Nickesha and the team to secure this funding package has been a pleasure. I am confident the funds provided by NatWest will help to inject refreshed life back into the much-loved hotel and encourage additional employment opportunities in the area.

“The hospitality sector has faced a particularly challenging time on a national scale, however, SMEs such as The Ashburnham Hotel will play a huge role in our economic recovery and Natwest is delighted to support this venture.”

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